YORK (Reuters Health) - For every soft drink or sugar-sweetened
beverage a child drinks every day, their obesity risk appears
to jump 60%, new study findings suggest.
of adolescent girls and 74% of adolescent boys consume soft drinks
daily, most of which are sugar-laden, according to Dr. David S.
Ludwig of the Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and
soft drinks constitute the leading source of added sugars in the
diet, amounting to 36.2 grams daily for adolescent girls and 57.7
grams for boys,'' the researchers write.
included 548 Massachusetts schoolchildren of various ethnic backgrounds
who were aged 11 and 12. The investigators found that for every
can or glass of sugar-sweetened beverage a child drank during
the 19-month study, a child's body mass index--a measure of weight
related to height--and their chance of becoming obese increased
authors note that their study ``was observational in nature''
and does not prove that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages will
cause a child to definitely become obese.
to the report, published in the February 17th issue of The Lancet,
one possible explanation for the link is that liquids do not satisfy
the appetite in the same way as food. This situation, combined
with the fact that children are not likely to limit their consumption
of food at mealtime to compensate for the extra soft drink calories,
has an overall result of the child taking in more calories than
he or she burns off.
National Soft Drink Association (NSDA) believes otherwise. They
issued a statement that said the ''study published in The Lancet
is wrong--soft drinks do not cause pediatric obesity.'' The group
states that other research on the same subject has found that
soft drink consumption is not related to an increased body mass
index in children.
of the allegations of this study, our advice to consumers remain
the same. A balanced diet and daily physical exercise are the
keys to a healthy lifestyle. Childhood obesity is the result of
many factors. Blaming it on any single factor, including soft
drinks, is nutritional nonsense,'' said Dr. Richard Adamson, a
spokesperson for the NSDA in the statement.
the first long-term study that links soft drink consumption to
obesity in children,'' the lead author of the Lancet study told
received no financial support from any organization that either
promotes or opposes soft drink consumption,'' Ludwig said. ``This
is one study and additional research is needed in other populations,''
US children has increased significantly since 1960--by 54% in
children aged 6 to 11 and by 40% for adolescents, according to
a report on the topic that came out late last year. The consumption
of soft drinks has increased 500% in the last 50 years, according
to the US Department of Agriculture.
The Lancet 2001;357:505-508.
Reference Source 89
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